Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ringing Phones

Work has been busy. So much so it has been challenging to handle all the incoming orders & deliveries. Like many companies we downsized and are still running with limited employees. We all are handling several different job duties and with this increase in work load we are now wondering if it is safe to hire. My boss has been trying to make this decision for weeks now but it seems every time he decides to go for it the phones stop ringing and he pulls back, concerned this pattern of increased orders won't continue. I can very much appreciate how difficult it must be, he is not only thinking about his company but also the new employee.

Over the weekend I was thinking about the phones and a thought came to mind: with all the different ways to communicate these days are ringing phones really a true measurement of an increase or decrease of business? 
For me, email is the most common form of communication with my customers, much more so than the telephone.  First off I like any direction to be in writing.  When I tell the customer when material will be available for delivery it is via email.  If the customer needs to change a size of an opening I want it in an email.  I always take notes when speaking with someone by phone but sometimes my writing gets sloppy as I try to keep up with the conversation.  I have learned through experience that what I say and what the customer hears sometimes have entirely different meanings.  I may say “your doors are scheduled to leave the factory in Wisconsin on November 3” but the customer hears “I am getting my doors at the jobsite on November 3”.   Early on in my career I learned to follow up a telephone call with an email reviewing all pertinent information that was discussed.  Communication is key to keeping a job moving forward smoothly not only for my scope of work but the many other trades on site.

Even potential customers often make the first contact via our info email address off our website in lieu of phoning in.    

Obviously tracking monthly sales numbers plays an important role in making any decisions on possible future hiring but my boss is old school and a constant ringing telephone makes him happy.  Personally I think it is probably a good mix of all forms of communication. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ceiling Mounted Tables

 Here is a space saving idea ~ let's hang the table on the ceiling! 

A brilliant idea for healthcare facilities including assisted living facilities and nursing homes.   Just flip a switch and you can convert your dining room to a recreation area, therapy center, visitors lounge or chapel.  Manufactured by

~ It has no legs so wheelchair patients are not encumbered.
~ The 60" diameter table top will seat 6-8 persons.
~ While the table is in the upright position the floor space can be used for 
    movies or a dance!
~ Cleanup crews love it because they don't have to move all those tables out 
    of the way before sweeping or mopping.
~ Can even be equipped to accommodate cabling for computer use.
~ Choices of table top laminate color. 

Fully retracted

Positioned halfway down
Fully extended

If you would like additional information please visit uptable.com.  Oh and if you are wondering what this has to do with doors...T-Fab is a sister company of a-fabco.  We have one of these cool table in our break room :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sherlock Holmes

I was watching Elementary, a new take on Sherlock Holmes on CBS this season, over the weekend and realized there seems to be a resurgence in showing Sherlock some love. 

Sherlock, Watson and I go way back. Thankfully my mom and brother instilled in me a love of reading and mysteries were, and are, a favorite. I was a teenager when I first read the stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. 

I tried to watch the Basil Rathbone's Sherlock but that didn't match my imagination.  It wasn't until Jeremy Brett played Holmes on PBS did, finally, someone match exactly what played in my head as I read the book.  Brett was masterful.  Sadly Mr. Brett died before performing in all the stories.


Still I had my books.  Yes I own several Sherlock Holmes books and I read them every few years or so.  

2009 brought to the big screen Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.  I enjoy Mr. Downey's acting but really thought playing Sherlock Holmes was going to be a huge stretch.  Gotta say, in this case, loved being wrong.  I think it is the on screen relationship between Holmes and Watson that made this movie a keeper for me.  I always worry that I am going to watch something that will tarnish the pedestal I keep these stories on.  The sequel didn't squelch that either. 


In 2011 PBS Masterpiece produced Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman, as a much more energetic Dr. Watson.  I have to say I watched with much skepticism since I really couldn't imagine anyone outshining Mr. Brett. I can admit I was sucked in and enthralled after watching the first episode.  This adaptation brings Sherlock and Watson into modern day England with modern day conveniences like cell phones, laps tops and even a blog written by Dr. Watson.  The most challenging part for me is having only 3 episodes in Season 1 and 2 and now waiting for Season 3. It really is brilliant.


Which brings us to the here and now.  Elementary is the newest take and while I didn't love it madly I did watched the 2nd show and will continue to watch as the actors, Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and, in a twist, Dr. John Watson is now Dr. Joan Watson played by Lucy Lu settle into their roles.    


I hope there is a whole new generation of fans that will pick up the books, after seeing any of the above adaptations, read the stories while letting their own imagination take over. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

DHI CoNEXTions Conference 2012

The DHI Conference is next week, October 14-19, in Las Vegas.  Unfortunately I am unable to attend but feel it is important to still support my industry from afar. 

Last year I was lucky enough to go to DHI in New York City. Flights from FL to NYC were inexpensive and my BFF was going so we were splitting the cost of a hotel room.  This year door and hardware professionals from the West Coast will have an easier and less expensive time getting to the show in Vegas.  Either having the show at the midpoint of the U.S. or alternating having the the show on opposite coasts is only fair.

My BFF is still going and the cool thing is I will be able to follow along on Social Media (SoMe).  A lot of other peeps I have met through SoMe will also be tweeting, posting on Facebook and LinkedIn and probably Instagram so I will be able to see a lot of what is happening.  It won't be the same of course as being there as I will miss the Solution Sessions DHI is offering along with the Forum for the Future, always a great event. But through Social Media people at the show will have the opportunity to share what the door and hardware industry is all about, not only to those of us in the industry but to the rest of the world. 

My heart breaks every time I read an article about a fire that spread because a fire door wasn't in good functioning order or a person, without proper knowledge, left the door open for some reason.  DHI was instrumental in encouraging the IFC and NFPA to adopt annual inspections on fire door assemblies and certain egress doors and continues to educate and promote these new codes.   

As you walk through buildings start paying attention to any door marked with an exit sign.  Is the opening blocked in some way?  Is it chained or bolted?  If there was a fire would you know where to go and is there a clear path to the exterior?  These are all important factors in the continuing education to save lives.   This is one of the many reasons I support the Door and Hardware Institute because what they do matters and truly can save lives.  

Ok jumping off the soap box now :)  If you are going to the DHI show next week please leave your twitter handle or facebook link in the comments below so I can follow along.  Tag all tweets with #DHI2012 to make it easier for those of us in the industry to search.

As an aside I also want to congratulations Lori Greene as she will be receiving the DHI Fellow Award this year! If you don't know Lori she is a force in our industry.  Lori started a blog I Dig Hardware back in 2009.  She can untangle the mind boggling words of building codes and specifications into understandable language.  I use her blog as a resource, weekly if not daily. 

Remember what happens in Vegas, at the DHI Show, doesn't stay in Vegas.  Share the knowledge and have a great show!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Lead Glass

Leaded glass is the most expensive single construction item in a room requiring radiation protection and little thought is given to the size.  With  production limited to four countries around the world (none of them being the USA), most manufacturers/distributors keep limited stock quantities on hand, it’s more important than ever to design with stock sizes in mind. 

Each manufacturer has common and differing stock sizes. The two most prominent lead glass producers are located in Germany (Schott) and Japan (Nippon). Nippon produce sizes up to 96’’ wide by 48’’ high.  Schott's produce sizes up to 84’’ wide by 42’’ high. 

Where lead glass is concerned, bigger is not necessarily better. Many times, the size and placement of the view window can create not only unsightly clutter but the reflect in the cost. 

The difference between a piece of 96’’ x 48’’ with 1/16’’ (2.00mm) lead equiv. & a piece of 84’’ x 42’’ with 1/16’’ (2.10mm) lead equiv. is only a 1080 sq. in.  (7.5 sq. ft.), but with a current price difference of about $50.00 /sq. ft., there could be significant savings. 

Here is a chart to help determine the location and size for a view window frame.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

FHEA 2012 - Booth 513

It is that time of year again!  On October 8th and 9th a-fabco will be mingling with physicists, engineers, architects along with many other building industry professionals at the Florida Healthcare Engineering Association Annual Meeting and Trade Show.  This year FHEA celebrates their 50th Anniversary with a Gala on Tuesday evening.  

We will have a sample of a lead lined integral blind at the show which seems to be the newest up and coming product being specified by architects in healthcare facilities.   

If you are going to the show please stop by Booth 513 and say hi to Jerry and David.  Sadly I will be skipping the show this year as someone needs to stay back in the office :)